Thursday, May 27, 2010

I'm an Adult

Or at least I will be in 2 weeks. In 2 weeks, I turn 30. It's not a big thing to me really, just another birthday. Of course, the fact that I can't do anything fun for this milestone may play a part in me downplaying it. No booze, no trips, no shenanigans. The best I can hope for are some fancy dinners and maybe a present or two. Ok, let's face it. I didn't plan this pregnancy very well. Next time I decide to gestate, remind me to avoid summer at all costs as well as any momentous occasion in my or my close friends' lives. Kthx. So in the spirit of a not very festive(tipseeee!) birthday, let's pick out some presents!

What every mother of a newborn needs: a stark white Kissing Pleat comforter. So, for reals, I want one.
When I put away my shoulder padded blazers and pumps to stay at home with Blink, I won't be stopping off at Wawa every morning for coffee. Thus, I need my own fancy schmancy thingamabobber. Do other 30 year olds not have coffeemakers? Or do they give them to you when you turn 30? 

This one's easy. I like books. And I read entirely too fast for my own good. I like this author. Buy me this book.

My dining room needs this light fixture. Or at least one like it. Or at least anything but the one that is currently hanging there. 

And if all else fails. I need these mostly in the event that if I have a girl child, as soon as the doctor smacks that baby, I'll be in Target on a tiny dress shopping spree. Mama needs funds for that sorta thing.

Am I missing anything? What else should a proper 30 year old own?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Fudgie Cookie

I don't keep sweets in the house too much. The best we do is Strawberry Fig Newtons for John's lunch. Crazy huh. What I do keep is cake mix. Ya know why? Because if I want cake, or cupcakes or even cake muffins, it's going to take a small amount of effort to make them. And I hate effort. I'm a lazy S.O.B. But this weekend, after lounging for about 44 hours straight, I needed some cookies. And not those geriatric Fig Newtons either. I needed the good stuff. So I made cake mix cookies. Then I put 3 on a plate, took a picture and ate 5. So are you gonna make them? They are ridonkulous. Ridonkulously good.

1 box devil's food cake mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
sugar, for rolling

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Stir (by hand) dry cake mix, oil and eggs in a large bowl until dough forms.
3. Dust hands with confectioners' sugar and shape dough into 1-1/2" balls.
4. Roll balls in sugar and place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
5. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until center is set.
6. Remove from pans after a minute or so and cool on wire racks.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Come and See Me Sometime

Is it snobby to call it the guest house? Should I call it the in-law suite? I always feel very southern-plantation-esque when I refer to it as the guest house. Either way, what we've got here is the addition built above our garage. It is a large open space with a half bath and a couple tiny attic doors. The slanted angles of the walls make the room awkward and hard to functionalize. Since we moved in last spring, this space has been our gym then it became my brother's apartment for a little while. We finally got it back and need to whip it into shape as an actual guest house for post-baby go-fers visitors. This means I've got two months to get it presentable.

Meanwhile, a couple weeks ago, I was the lucky recipient of an e-decorating package from MaggieRose, courtesy of Jackie @ SweetiePiePumpkinNoodle. Now normally I would never consider myself someone that would use an interior decorator, or e-decorator. I like to think my decorating ability is a smidge better than the average bear so why would I pay someone to do it for me? And by a smidge, I mean that I actually take an interest in it, nothing more. Well enter a free prize plus the fact that I needed some guidance & motivation to get movin on this project and here we are.

So I sent some pics off to Maggie of the room and gave her a general gist of what I like/despise and a few weeks later, I got a design guide in my email. It included: a floorplan, moodboard, shopping guide and set of instructions.

A sad little excuse for a guest room.
You know what that dark brown thing behind the bed is? An inflatable headboard. Did you know that they exist? Well forget you did. They suck. And they don't stay stuck to the wall as they should. And do you know what that stuffed animal on the bed is? It's a Real Talkin' Bubba Bear. It's a stuffed bear that says things with a hick accent. It might be my most prized possession.
Things I'm not too fond of: diamond-patterned berber carpet, builder's beige paint and "the last homeowner bought a 6-pack of these boob-shaped light fixtures and hung them all in this one room" light fixtures. Unfortunately my budget is teeny weeny and there's no way in hell I'm spending my summer painting this room so all of the above will stay put.
Do you need a temporary closet? Because I have one I don't need.

Anyway, there's your 5 cent tour. And here is the moodboard that Maggie came up with. She used my over-willingness to use furniture I have and my super craigslist-scouring ability to come up wtih pieces I could easily replicate. She also included my affinity for Target and Ikea in the source list so I obviously love her. I'm a big fan of this design mostly because it will work with the current paint and carpet as well as my miniscule budget. So what do you guys think? You like?

So over the next few weeks, I'll be attempting to pull all of this together. And if you happen to own a Target slipper chair (#10) that you want to donate, give me a holler. Otherwise, stay tuned as my gets-tired-after-one-trip-to-target ass whips this room into shape. Or at least spend the next two months complaining that it still needs to be done. Whichever.

Friday, May 21, 2010

As Long as There's Bacon, I'm In

Ohhh, you were thinking I was packing on this "baby weight" by eating Dairy Queen, Cinnamon Life and fudge every day? Well you'd be right. But once in a blue moon, I cook something not butter-laden. It may contain bacon, but there's nooo butter. And it was quite tasty. Enjoy.

Penne with Asparagus, Spinach & Bacon
8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
2 bacon slices
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
2 1/2 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
4 cups bagged baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup (2 ounces) preshredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain; keep warm.
Cook bacon in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan; crumble. Add onion to drippings in pan (mmmm drippings); sauté 1 minute. Add asparagus and broth to pan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or until asparagus is crisp-tender. Add pasta, spinach, 1/4 cup cheese, and pepper to pan; toss well. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup cheese and bacon.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I See You

I was lying awake this morning around 1am thinking about my blog. I considered getting up to write this post but my contacts were glued to the underside of my eye so I figured navigating steps would be a bad idea. So anyway, I was thinking about my blog and who actually reads it.   I've been doing this blogging thing for awhile and have had a tracker for almost as long. But I'm cheap so I don't pay for it. So I get limited info like your IP address, location, how long you stalked me, etc... So obvs. I get curious from time to time and want to know who you are. And if it's keeping me up at 1am, you should probably feel bad for me.

I've never asked you to come out of the shadows though. Mostly because I always get an uneasy feeling when a blogger calls out her silent audience to comment.  Like, maybe I just want to stalk anonymously? Leave me alone! And maybe you do too. Maybe you want to be left alone. Lord knows I stalk enough blogs without ever saying a word besides the random comment for a giveaway. Sometimes I feel guilty about that. Then I get over it.

But if you're feeling sassy, say hi. If not, carry on.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Baby Files: Weeks 27 & 28

How far along? 28 weeks

Maternity clothes? Yup and every week I have an internal debate about wanting to buy more so that I can have options versus saving the money on clothes I won't be able to wear for very long. What's a girl to do?

The belly:

Sleep: Ohhh sleepin is back to normal and I'm lovin it. No wake-ups at all during the night. Keepin' my fingers crossed.

Cravings: I needed boardwalk fudge this weekend. But no one wanted to drive the two hours to the beach to get it. Then! My amazing husband! He remembered that Boscovs sells candy & fudge. So he bought me some. I love him so. At the same time, I crave being active. I want to work out. And break a sweat. But somehow I do that just sorting laundry so that idea's kinda out for now.

Best moment this week: My position at work was filled so I can now start training my replacement. This should mean I can kick back and relax...right?

Movement: Yeah man. This kid's all over the place.

Gender: Couldn't tell ya. I've heard of like 15 boy babies being born this week, so I'm convinced I'll break the boy spell. Pray she doesn't grow up with a sailor's mouth like her mother's.

Labor Signs: Not yet. But my doctor did explain what to look out for today. That must mean we're heading into the home stretch.

Belly Button in or out? Still in. I know, you were dying to know.

What I miss: Behaving the slightest bit lady-like. Seriously, the grunts and the breathing? I sound like an enphysemic, arthritic old man when I try to get out of bed or off the couch.

Weekly Wisdom: Don't think this is easy. Pregnancy is uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable. There's not a second that goes by that I forget I am pregnant. I walk around every day feeling like I have a bowling ball attached to the front of me. It makes my back hurt. Which makes me want to lie down. Which zaps my energy. Which makes me useless. Yes, I'm definitely pumped about birthin' a babe in a couple months but for the time being, I am a whiny bitch.

Milestones: Mother freakin 3rd trimester!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blinky's Future BFF

This past week, my child's future BFF was born to one of my bests, Sarah & Todd. Maksim entered this earth on the day I called in the pool! Proof that I am awesome at babies. Or guessing. Whichever.  Anyway, I got to go visit him right away and was reduced to nothing but squeals. Isn't he the most adorable thing ever?

The wonderfully lucky, happy new family.
Congratulations again Sarah & Todd. He makes me want to have one myself.

Oh he's goooood.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Irrational Annoyances aka I'm Pregnant

I know for a fact that I am highly irritable. Always have been. Somehow, some way,John assures me, pregnancy has made it worse. I waste so much time being annoyed at people, places and things everyday. I hate it and would like to stop. However, I can't. I think I might subconsciously enjoy getting annoyed. And for this reason, I give you my top 3 annoyances this week:

Windows PC Was My Idea Commercials
You've seen them. They take perfectly normal, dare I say somewhat attractive people, and show them as a supposed new and improved version of themselves in the form of another actor/actress. A better looking one. That's annoying.

Sex and the City dialogue

Yep, the new movie is coming out. Previews show Carrie and Samantha on a camel and Samantha says something completely cliched like she's having a hot flash. Carrie responds with another complete cliche about being in the desert and not having hot flashes would mean she was dead. Don't get me wrong, I will probably actually go to the movies to see this. I like the story lines, the clothes and the whatnot. What I hate is how they talk. I've never met any group of women that talk like they do. And they're heralded for being "just like" a group of real-life friends. Bullshit. Haven't they realized that Samantha sounds like an actual dude yet? Or that she's pushing her 50's and no one wants to hear her never-ending sexual innuendos? I guess I'm part of the problem and not the solution by giving them my money. I guess I'm telling them that I'm ok with their dialogue. Well, guess what SATC producers, I'm not. I'm just a sucker for pretty clothes and bright colors. So suck on that.

I have yahoo mail. And when I go to sign into my mail, I have to see this picture. He looks like a miserable a-hole, doesn't he? Sure, Grams loves him and is happy to see him but I'm not. Why can't he smile? He makes me not want to smile. Is that what my email provider wants? To make me unhappy?
You surely agree, right?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You Say Potato. Who Says Potahhhtoe?

So everyone knows the Pioneer Woman. And I'm pretty sure that everyone wants to be her. Lives on pretty ranch, cooks yummy food, takes ridonkulous pictures and blogs for a living. Yeahhhh, that sounds not all bad. So when I saw this recipe for Crash Hot Potatoes around the internets involving potatoes and salt, my interest was piqued. So I made em. You can check the recipe and her step-by-step directions here. And while they were tasty, I'll never make them again. Wayyyy too time consuming. But you might be into that sort of thing. And in that case, here, this recipe's for you. You, my more patient friend, are welcome.

Then a few days later, I decided I was in the mood for some meat. So I made these, Marlboro Man's Favorite Sandwich. I think I'm gonna need a catchy nickname for my husband now, because he also really enjoyed this sangwich. Maybe I'll call him Excel Man...or Level Man. FYI, John is an Excel whiz and can make a spreadsheet his beotch. He also likes for things to be level. And uses about 5 to 6 different levels for one project. Backup levels for his backup level, if you will.

Anyway, back to this meal. Can you tell I'm from the Midwest with my love for meat and potatoes yet? Of course, when you think about it, I'm from Illinois, I should love pizza and sausage. Don't worry, I love those too. Anyway, if you skip the taters, I highly recommend you do NOT skip these sandwiches. The Marlboro Man/Excel Man would not do you wrong.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mother or Incubator? You Decide

I hope you all had a fantastic Mother's Day weekend. John and I spent the first half of the weekend going on dates for Mexican and then going to see Date Night.   I literally cried at one point I was laughing so hard. I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was. So go see it.  The rest of the weekend, I was up to my eyeballs in cleaning and cooking all weekend for dinner for both the in-laws on Saturday and then for my ma, my Nan and my aunt on Sunday. Luckily my brother volunteered to cook the main course so I was free to spend my time on more important things, like setting the table. I pulled out the Isaac Misrahi for Target table linens I got at my wedding shower and the Pier One yellow birdy plates I got for Christmas and went from there.

Apparently tablecloths show up wrinkly on camera. In person, it was perfect.
And because I'm slightly insane, I ran over to my craft room and made these placecards.
And yeah, I have a slight bird fetish these days.
But more important than anything is the dessert I made. It was warm, gooey and delicious. And seriously easy.

3/4 cup butter, plus more for dish
1 (20-ounce) can crushed pineapple, in juice
1 (20-ounce) can blueberry pie filling
1 (18.25-ounce) box yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter a 13 by 9-inch casserole dish.
Melt 3/4 cup butter in saucepan over low heat.
Pour the pineapple with juice into the casserole dish and evenly spread blueberry pie filling on top.
Cover with dry yellow cake mix and top with pecans.
Drizzle with melted butter and bake for 35 to 45 minutes.

And although Blinky isn't on the outside yet, John played it safe and made me eggs in bed and picked out a most perfect not-technically-a-mother's day present. He bought me a cute nursing gown for the hospital with a matching baby gown and tiny striped hat. Adorbs.  I'm glad he didn't listen to his friends when they had they decided "It doesn't count til it's out" when it comes to buying Mother's Day presents. Lovely sentiment, doncha think? Hallmark, give em a call!
And a belated HapMo's day to my maternal friends out there as well as those currently gestating. It counts to me.

The Baby Files - Weeks 23 through 26

How far along? 26 weeks

Total weight gain: Holding steady at 20 ell-bees for now

Maternity clothes? Yep. And ya know what's awesome? Old Navy's regular size crew-neck T's (my fave) are long enough to cover the bell, only in a size bigger. So I not only wear them around the house but I throw a necklace on and wear them to work. It's gonna be a T-shirt kind of summer.

The belly: Sleep: Ok, I'm finally ready to stop complaining. Sleep has gotten better. I've given up on the Boppy body pillow and am just using my regular pillows and adjusting throughout the night. It's gotten muuuuch better.

Cravings: McDonald's soft serve cones. They're an acceptable substitute when you live too far from a Dairy Queen. Now if McDonald's would serve jimmies (aka sprinkles for you weirdos) on their cones, then we'd have a sure winner.

Best moment this week: Seeing Blinky move. From the outside. Wierdest thing ever! Luckily I was lying on the couch at the time and I was able to let John feel me up too. First reaction? Creep city. Later reaction? Adorbs.

Movement: Pretty steady all day long but doesn't keep me up at night. Yet.

Gender: Unknown.

Labor Signs: Nope, but see my friend Sarah's post on labor. We are baffled by it.

Belly Button in or out? Still in. And I mayyyy have agreed with John on it's cavern-ness. It's expanding.

What I miss: Planning for the future. Like dumb stuff, like trips or parties. Anything after August 7 is up in the air for me. I have no idea what life will be like. I have a feeling the entire rest of the year will be a giant blur of feeding and sleeping. Not unlike my current life, but in a different way of course.

Weekly Wisdom: Hmmm, finish your nursery early. Moving & lifting things, let alone painting and renovating, get increasingly hard. I had a few people tell me not to start so early because I'd be "bored" at the end when I was all finished the nursery. I'm glad I tend to do what I want.

Milestones: Blinky's the size of an eggplant these days. And we're creeping out of the 2nd trimester soon. Craziness, eh? Didn't I just get pregnant?

Friday, May 7, 2010

Do People Even Do This Anymore?

So you may have heard that in a few short months (3!) I'll be a stay-at-home Mom. You may have also heard my screaming night terrors concerns over the loss of my salary. Well, our recent household talks have centered around saving a few pennies here and there. One topic that came up was the feasability of being a one-car household. The current situation is that we have two cars, no car payment and plan on driving both our cars into the ground.

However, with two cars comes two insurance bills, yearly inspections, two gas tanks to fill and maintenance. That's a good chunk of change we'd be saving if we went down to one car.
As it is, John drives his car to work everyday. I do the same. We take my car everywhere else we go together. He'll even take my car to places other than work without me. So when the time comes in a few months when I won't be going to work anymore, the idea would be for me to drive John to work and pick him up each night. It's about a 20 minute commute each way with traffic, which isn't too bad I suppose. That way, I'm not stuck in the house with the babe all day and can come and go as I please. Plus, that commute time is just extra time Blinky & I get to spend with our favorite pal.

The drawbacks? There may be a time where we want to go somewhere seperately at the same time. Now, John plays cards each Wednesday night at his friends' house, right after work. This would obviously mean John would take the car on Wednesdays. I would be stuck at home on Wednesdays. Inconvenient? Maybe. End of the world? Hardly. If it came down to it where we had to be somewhere different at the same time, I'm sure we could figure out a solution.

I'm honestly hard-pressed to find more drawbacks to being a one-car household. And just a note, we wouldn't be doing this right away, like, not with a newborn. I think by the time we did it, I'd be used to having a wee one. Can you think of any drawbacks? Be a dear and play Devil's Advocate for me, would ya? Would this work for you? Why would it be annoying?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Out There in God's Country

Or Why the Midwest is OK in my book...

So I wasn't always this fabulous, cosmopolitan street-smart girl from the big city (burbs). I wasn't always the girl who could navigate and parallel park on any street downtown. Or the girl who could attend college in one of the worst hoods in Philadelphia without a second thought of where I parked my car at night. Or stay out til the wee hours of the morn, wandering the city streets looking for my next drink. Haha that last one sounded terrible, didn't it?

No, I'm from very humble beginnings, the middle of nowhere Illinois. In fact, my father's whole side of the fam still lives there. I was born there and lived there for a short time before my mom got us to hightail it back to civilization (Philadelphia). And for some reason, I decided to go back at 19 and spend two years there. It was like going away to a college where everyone already knew each other and didn't pronounce water like "wooder". They, with no good reason, were highly suspicious of why I was there. What they didn't know was that I was there to buckle down at school and drive around the Mustang my dad bought me. See,in exchange for actually going to my college classes, my dad agreed to furnish me with a place to live and a brand new car. It only took me away from my friends and fam for two years and although almost every day sucked being away, it was definitely worth it. I returned home two years later, transferred my credits and got my degree. All these years later, I think back on my Illinois days somewhat fondly. Mostly because of the following:

Drive-Thru Liquor Stores
Face it, we Pennsylvanians got the short end of the stick when it comes to purchasing our booze. The beer is sold through distributors and at bars. The liquor is sold at a seperate "state store" or "package store" if you're a grandma. Even worse, none of these places have drive-throughs. Even in the rain, they make us get out of the car to get our fix. So thank you Illinois for that case of Zima one-time through my driver's side window. It sure was heartburn-y tasty.

Hobby Mothereffin Lobby

Not that I was the crafty mix back then that I am today and would have fully appreciated this store, but still, it's good stuff. This store has a better selection of all things crafty than any store in my tri-state area. And their sales are unbelievable.

Steak 'n Shake
You Midwesterner's with your Steak 'n Shake can keep the burgers and shoe-string fries but have to hand over the key-lime milkshakes, or freezes, or whatever they called them. That's all I want. I still think about them ten years later. And for my locals who've never been to a Steak 'n Shake, it's a fast food place with a waitstaff. And I'm pretty sure they wear those white hats they wear at Nifty Fifty's. That's it.

They Let You in Bars at 19!

I showed up at the right time. My social life would have consisted of driving around a cornfield, drinking Busch pounders. But no, Illinois, with your lax rules, let me into the same bars as everyone else when I was only 19. Sure, stamp my 21 year old friend's hand. We won't run into the bathroom to wet her hand then press it against mine. That won't produce the same stamp on my baby hand. I won't be able to drink Dr. Pepper's (beer with a shot of amaretto...gross) til I puke in the parking lot. That won't happen at all.

Biscuits and Gravy

Just like the Midwest and chain restaurants try (and fail miserably)to get a Philly cheesesteak right by adding peppers and mushrooms, the east coast CANNOT get a plate of biscuits and gravy together. I don't know if it's the water (wooder) or the fresh air, but I've never had sausage gravy like I had in Illinois. I'd like some now please.

Thank you Illinois, apparently you're good for eatin' and boozin'. And that's a compliment.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Am Stitch Witchery Genius!

I stopped into my local Calico Home for the first time recently. Making no bones about it, I instruct the cashier to show me to the clearance section. She did as I said. And while their idea of clearance greatly differs from mine, I found a few gems. Their discontinued sample yards were a buck each. I grabbed a few with no real ideas in mine, except for this one. She was destined to be a table runner.

Sliced her right up the middle then stitched (witch) her back together.


Seriously. What will I make next? Stitch Witchery aprons? Slipcovers? Pantalones? The possibilities are endless.
Can you tell I'm real proud of myself here?
And um, when is the Stitch Witchery company going to contact me to provide me lifetime supply for being biggest fan? I wonder if Stitch Witchery has a facebook page. I'd like them.


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